2014 Conference season is over, NAVTechDays rocks | What’s up next ?

With NAVTechDays 2014 last week, the conference season for Microsoft Dynamics NAV is officially over.

From the perspective of a presenter, NAVTechDays is just amazing. At a cinema with a screen the size of a small house and hundreds of attendees is an experience that’s next to nothing.

I’ve already wrote some articles about what I did in Antwerp. Just in case you haven’t read them yet, you can find them here, here and here. I also recorded a video.

I had to promise Arend Jan Kauffmann that my next blog post would actually contain useful information, so hopefully it did.

Why Do You Attend All These Conferences…

…and what does Microsoft pay you? That is a question a lot of people ask me. Traveling to 6 events across the globe in 10 weeks has some serious impact on your life.

First of all, let me release you from one dream; Microsoft does not pay anything.It just does not work that way. Even if you are an MVP you are on your own. And just because you are an MVP, doesn’t make you a good presenter or a good teacher either.

For me the reason to do it, is to meet a lot of people and to get a chance to evangelise a wonderful product. The only selfish act is that paying my mortgage depends on the continuous existence of the product, so I might as well help keeping it so.

So what’s next?

I am inspired to do a lot of blogging and some videos. First of all I want to continue with my C# series that I started. I have learned a lot of C# during my trips. Even last week during Vjeko’s Mere Mortals session I got some inspiration to write an article.

From a Design Patterns perspective we are getting ready to a complete package of Architectural, Design and Implementation patterns. We have a good list of patterns on the wiki and almost 30 videos.

Together with the object-oriented methodology we presented during the writing repeatable software session we have a complete package what deserves more attention. You can expect that coming.

What about Partner Ready Software?

When we started PRS in 2011, the intention was to brand a thinktank and community initiative. With the design patterns project maturing one could argue about the value of such a concept.

Truth is we don’t know yet what will happen. There are a few options that we are currently discussing that have different futures for the brand. I’ll keep you updated as things get more clear.

So now…

…back to work all of you, you already wasted enough time reading this…


Visual Studio Online | Welcome Cloud Development

It was not until recently that I was introduced to the term ALM. Application Lifecycle management. No idea when this Three Letter Abbreviation was invented but the problem it describes are much older, and familiar to a lot of Dynamics NAV developers.

About three years ago I wrote this article, that caused quite some stirr in the NAV Channel, unintended, but typical for our community I think.

So what is the problem definition.

Keeping track of Development History. Why did What happen and When.

After writing the article I dropped the subject. We started the Partner Ready Software initiative and ALM is/was not part of our initial primairy focus. When presenting our vision on Dynamics NAV development I use these slides:

What we tried…
What we need…

And from a pure software quality concept this is true.

But that does not take away the fact that ALM is quite cool too. And a recent development caught my attention that might be of interest to all Dynamics Partners, but especially the smaller ones or the ones who still do customer based development.

Until recently TFS had to be installed on premisse and it is “something to maintain” for IT guys.

When Waldo and I were in Redmond (WA) last year for MVP Summit I went to a session about ALM where Visual Studio Online was presented, as Luc van Vugt also mentions in one of his posts.

On first thoughts you might think this allows you to code C# in the cloud, and yes, you can do that if you want. But a better naming would be TFS Online since it allows a Team Foundation Server to run in the Cloud for free without any hassle or cost. How cool is that!

This is definately something that brings ALM back into my area’s of interest and I have already spent some time exploring it.

You can setup different projects in the tool and it allows you to define work items and sprints to work scrum. You can define team members and do planning and even do visual kanban planning. Really super cool!

The first downside I found is that it is still required to use an on site tool to check in and check out objects. You can use Team Exporer which is free.


But TFS also allows you to use PowerShell to check in and check out objects which means it can be integrated with existing Dynamics NAV PowerShell scripts. This would be very interesting to NAV Partners and we won’t need all these third party tools to integrate.


GIT & Microsft Dynamics NAV

Another concept that I stumbled on while exploring VSO is GIT. I am not quite sure yet how to combine these two concepts in NAV but the way I look at it is that GIT helps while doing development and work is still unfinished, and when you check in objects in TFS they are ready to be tested.

TFS is integrated with GIT and I am going to spend some time investigating what the options are and how they can work together.





Design Patterns are part of the official Community Wiki

We are at the verge of NAVTechDays 2013 where we will do our third Partner Ready Software presentation.

Looking back on how we started and where we are today makes me proud. We talked about a wiki when we started. Today the wiki is there in a form I would have never dreamt of or hoped for.

You probably know that the Design Patterns team blogged 8 patterns on the NAV Team blog and there is a blog explaining the team and its goal.

What is the NAV Design Patterns project?

It should have been a secret until NAVTechDays but we launched a wiki on the official Dynamics Community site. Here is the link.


Currently we have 15 more patterns almost ready to be published and plan is to move upto 40 soon.

Also we will make a big announcement of plans at NAVTechDays to move the pattern project into a bigger perspective.

For me the patterns are the core of what every NAV Developer should know to do a good job. It’s the quest I started looking for in my book.

Keep a close eye on my blog as I will post more details on our next project soon!